Kyle and Joann Snyder and the Archangel Alliance’s mission to assist, protect and defend
By Carol Taber
WAKE FOREST — The year 2012 was one of big changes for Kyle Snyder. On Feb. 14, he married Joann Ryan. That August, the N.C. National Guard sergeant shipped out to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom for what was supposed to be his final tour of duty.
Serving with 514th Military Police Company, his mission was, in part, to “work with the local Afghan national police on training, weapons, helping them to become more self-sufficient and teaching them how to handle certain situations,” Kyle Snyder said. “We provided support to them as they did their own missions and assisted them in situations they needed help in. We worked with them on traffic checkpoints, clearing a house or building, weapons awareness, et cetera.”
Two months into his tour, his world shattered. A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into the company’s joint U.S.-Afghan patrol, on Oct. 1. Three American service members, Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, Sgt. Donna R. Johnson and Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, died during the attack. Kyle Snyder and two other squad members were severely injured.
News reports at the time documented that shrapnel in his leg caused chronic pain syndrome to develop. The damage was such that doctors considered amputating his left leg, until Kyle Snyder successfully argued to let him keep it and struggle through recovery.
He would go on to have 18 surgeries over three years.
Pain and adversity can cause some people to pull back into themselves. Not so for Kyle and Joann.
When Kyle returned stateside after the attack, despite the many operations, chronic pain and long hospital stays, he recalls receiving “an outpouring of support and generosity.” As he began to heal, the couple knew they had to find a way to “pay this all back.”
In 2014, Kyle and Joann started the Archangel Alliance. Named for the 514th Military Police Company’s call sign while in Afghanistan, the Alliance is dedicated to the memory of Kyle’s fallen comrades. Its mission is simple: To provide support to veterans and their families in a time of need.
“We are here to help with any issues that may occur, such as paying a bill, providing basic information or guidance or just being there to have a conversation when someone needs to talk,” according to the non-profit’s website, www.archangelalliance.net.
To date, the Alliance has been able to provide support to 16 local service men and women and their families, whether helping with a monthly rent or a mortgage payment, a light bill, finding a job or just being someone to talk to, someone who has “been there and understands.”
Joann is a licensed real estate broker. She has the experience to provide guidance with any real estate transactions vets may be considering, including questions about Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans.
The Alliance has helped sponsor a N.C. National Guard soldier to go on a Rice+Bean mission trip. Rice+Bean Ministries provides personal care and food to those in need in Costa Rica.
The Alliance has also provided an educational assistance grant and a round trip bus ticket for a soldier who needed to catch a bus to her weekend drill and didn’t have the money. The solider asked for a one way ticket but the Alliance got her a round trip one so she would have to worry about getting back home.
Snyder says he is proud and grateful that the Archangel Alliance has not had to turn anyone away because it didn’t have the money. The Archangel Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit, with 100 percent of all donations going to help active and retired service men and women and their families.
One of the saddest requests Snyder has received was from a former Marine who reached out for help. His wife had stage 4 cancer. “About two weeks after we got him taken care of she passed, but we were able at least to take a lot of other strain off of him,” Kyle said.
Building a support network
Snyder understands that networking with others is more effective for meeting the varied needs of veterans rather than trying to do it all on his own. The Archangel Alliance has partnered with Operation: Coming Home, Human Wall for Fallen Soldiers, The Center for Emerging Business and is working with Operation War Fighter on a Transition Academy for Veterans.
The Alliance has donated to Toys For Lil Troops and are partnering with PDQ in Wake Forest to collect gifts for Wake Forest/Rolesville Angel Tree families starting Dec. 1. Those families can be either military or civilian.
Snyder is also a lifetime member of American Legion with his membership originating in Maryland. He plans to join American Legion Wake Forest Post 187 and Wake Forest Memorial Post 8466, VFW.
Kyle and Joann moved to Wake Forest in October of 2015. The Snyders were the recipients of Operation: Coming Home’s 11th Hero House.
Since 2008, Operation: Coming Home has been building houses in the Triangle area for veterans who were severely wounded while on active duty. The groundbreaking for Hero Home 15 will be in Fuquay-Varina.
Basically homebodies since moving to Wake Forest, the Snyders have enjoyed getting to know people and being a 3- to 5-minute drive from everything. They especially enjoyed all the Friday Night on White Street events.
Although Kyle has retired from active duty, he still lives out the 514th Military Police Company motto: Assist. Protect. Defend.